For years I put others first for the majority of the time, forgetting to show myself kindness and recharge my own power first. I was a budding Super Hero; a people pleaser. This pattern began at quite a young age. It wasn’t until my health began to deteriorate that I decided to take notice and begin this empowering journey of change. It has been a long and interesting path of awakening and I am now finally on the other side.
Because this is such a commonly occurring pattern for people I’ve decided to share some of my insights. So you can see the importance of recharging your own power first and how to do it.
We can most certainly be our own worst enemy at times. I remember when I first started out in business I was taught how important it was to learn how to say “Yes” as often as possible. It became a firm commitment to take as many actions as possible to achieve my goals and dreams. This is an effective strategy and I have been given some amazing opportunities through adopting it even though I felt nervous at times.
It becomes a pattern and a problem when you are saying “Yes” to your own detriment.
The times you put other people before you and ignore your own needs and you’re doing this for the majority of the time. This most certainly is the definition of a people pleaser and it can get in the way of you actually having the life, career and business that YOU want.
Often we do this because we don’t want to miss an opportunity. A popular acronym used to describe this is “FOMO” – Fear of missing out. But, more often than not its because we don’t like to say “No”. Because we want to keep the other person happy or we want to please them in some way. Or we’re worried about upsetting them.
It may fulfil our need for security. Or it might help us feel that that we will be loved and accepted and always belong.
Paul Coelho said – “When you say “Yes’ to others make sure you are not saying “No” to yourself” Over the many years working with business people and professionals I have seen this to be true.
People pleasers can be spotted a mile away.
People pleasers are always busy and they are notorious for wanting to help and for getting things done The issue is when we always put others first we give our power away to the point we have no fuel left in our own tank.
As you empty your own tank you don’t ‘work as productively. You can look tired and stressed. It affects your body language and the way you communicate. And that does you no favours at all, most especially professionally. If you run on an empty tank for long enough, it can eventually lead to anxiety, depression and other serious health issues.
So it’s important to put the role of people pleaser aside and learn how to say “No” so you can live a healthy, balanced life. Here are some quick tips to do so:
Decide on what is important to you and make that a priority
Create some goals for all aspects of your life that are important to you. Most people only set professional goals, but personal life is equally important. Be realistic in the number of goals you set in a certain time frame. Then make your own goals your priority.
Delay your response to others requests
A people pleaser pattern is automatic. You often say yes before you have even considered the impact it will have on you and what you want. When someone requests your time, stall your response. Tell the person you will get back to them. Let them know that you will have to check your diary.
Check in with yourself before you say Yes
In the pursuit of breaking your people pleaser mould, it is essential to check in with yourself before you accept a request. Ask yourself if the request supports what is important to you. Consider the effect on your goals and your health. Explore whether it will create a win/win situation in some way. Check in with your body and see how that feels about it. Our body never lies and will show signs of resistance through tensing and feelings of pressure or heaviness. If you would like to use this time for yourself, then it’s okay to say “No”.
Learn to say No respectfully and politely
As a former people pleaser you may initially feel uncomfortable about saying “No”. Or you may even have pent up annoyance because you’ve been saying “Yes” for such a long time. This may reflect in your tone of voice and your body language. It’s a natural pendulum swing. So be aware and remember that other people don’t realise you are in the process of breaking a pattern. Make the adjustments in your tone of voice and body language if needed.
If you feel uncomfortable you may find it easier to say “No’ with an explanation. For example “No, I am unable to do this because I have other deadlines”. Or another respectful way of declining is to validate their needs. For instance “I understand that this is important to you and thank you for thinking of me. I’m unable to help though, because I have other more pressing priorities”.
Finally, let go of the people pleaser label
Any statement beginning with the words “I am” is a statement about our identity. When we declare who we are, we become that person even more. A shift in that identity will help you move the pattern of putting others first even more. If you ever find yourself saying or thinking “I am a people pleaser” it’s time to make a change. Replace the statement with the words “I am a conscious contributor” and notice the difference.
The initial move into conscious contributor challenges the comfort zone of you and of others. As you begin to say “No” you may find its not received well by everyone. If this is the case for you, it’s because you have trained people to have those expectations of you. Stick with it, because you can give far more authentically from a full tank than an empty one. People will eventually get used to the new you and love you even more exactly as you are.
People pleasing can be a tricky pattern to break, because there is often a old embedded belief system that sits behind it. If your attempts seem futile or you would like some support with this, working with a good and experienced coach can help. Book your free initial connect call HERE